Our ambition: a story of hope 

NLR’s overall goal is a world free of leprosy by 2040. After 4,000 years of human suffering, we are the generation that can end one of the world’s oldest and most notorious disabling diseases.   

More than 40 million of the world’s most marginalised people are at risk of developing leprosy, a highly stigmatised disease that causes life-long disabilities if not treated timely. Around 3 million people currently live with disabilities because of leprosy. More than 200,000 are diagnosed with leprosy every year. 

Our game-changer to end leprosy  

For the first time, leprosy is now not only curable, but also preventable. One pill is the game-changer we have been waiting for to end leprosy. Decades of research show that just a single dose of the antibiotic rifampicin reduces the risk of developing leprosy by 57%. Better yet, this preventive treatment, called SDR-PEP*, is cost-effective, widely available and easily integrated into government disease control programmes. All close contacts of persons affected by leprosy such as family members, neighbours and friends can benefit from this pill. 

We are ready to scale up  

After 20 years of preparation, we now have the evidence, medication, and partnerships to scale up SDR-PEP. If we scale up now, we can avoid life-long disabilities, social exclusion and mental problems.  

We support governments in high-endemic countries to strengthen their national leprosy control programmes to create valuable, easy-to-replicate examples for other nations. This work includes training of health workers, active case finding, contact tracing, improving data management, and advocacy. 

Together with a myriad of partners, such as the WHO, ministries of health, disabled people’s organisations, other leprosy and NTD organisations, and universities, we can make a significant impact towards achieving our goal: a world free of leprosy in 2040! 

*SDR-PEP is a single dose of rifampicin used as a post exposure prophylaxis